Willie Snead leads New Orleans Saints in receiving yards through four weeks
Before the New Orleans Saints got back to work this summer, would you have believed me if I told you a guy named Willie Snead would be the team’s leading receiver through a quarter of the regular season in 2015? I’ll answer that for you with an obvious no.
Willie Snead initially signed with the Cleveland Browns after going undrafted out of Ball State in 2014. He was cut before the season began and soon joined the Carolina Panthers practice squad, eventually signing to the Saints practice squad in December.
Alongside fellow 2014 undrafted free agent Brandon Coleman, Willie Snead made a ton of noise during training camp and preseason. It was clear he wanted a job down on the bayou, and a job he got after he made the final 53-man roster as the team’s fourth wideout behind Marques Colston, Brandin Cooks and Coleman.
Through the first quarter of the season, Snead has been just as good, if not better than any of the Saints’ wide receivers. In fact, with four games in the books, Willie Snead is third on the team in receptions with 16 and first in receiving yards with 240. He also leads New Orleans’ wideouts with 15 yards per catch. Pro Football Focus has the highest Saints receiver grade on Willie Snead at +2.3.
While it’s great to see a nobody turn into somebody, there’s also a downfall to this. This was the season second-year man Brandin Cooks was supposed to break out. He has yet to find the end zone or have a 100-yard game. Marques Colston? The “Quiet Storm” is no more — Colston is in obvious decline. And Brandon Coleman? The other training camp stud is having trouble both getting open and holding onto the ball, and coaches have taken notice, giving Willie Snead the upper hand there.
Still, it’s nice to see Willie Snead do so well. If it weren’t for him, the Saints receiving corps could have bigger problems than it already has. Drawing comparisons to former Saints’ fan favorite Lance Moore, Snead rarely drops a pass, which should obviously be a commodity of any wide receiver trying to make it in the NFL. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Between excellent hands, an ability to separate and get open, and the athleticism to get the yards after the catch, Willie Snead looks to continue to be a major contributor for the New Orleans Saints. With key players returning, particularly Drew Brees (missed first game due to health Week 3) and C.J. Spiller, this offense could finally be coming around.